Theoretical Ecology and Evolution

The Bank lab @ Universität Bern & the Gulbenkian Institute

Positions

Advanced Postdoc in Ecological and Evolutionary Modeling of Hybridization (50-100%)

The Division of Theoretical Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bern, led by Claudia Bank, is looking for an Advanced Postdoc in Ecological and Evolutionary Modeling of Hybridization to be part of a team working on the collaborative HFSP-funded project “Chance or curse? The consequences of hybridization in a changing world” (see also the simultaneous postdoc opportunity in Vitor Sousa’s lab at the University of Lisbon, here).

Once thought to be rare, we now know that hybridization is quite common. There has been a longstanding debate about the importance of hybridization because it can have both beneficial and harmful effects. By creating new phenotypes, hybridization can help organisms adapt, but it can also drive extinction by generating harmful combinations of genes. Past work has proposed that in stressful environments, the benefits of hybridization may outweigh the costs, but this idea has not been clearly tested. Understanding these dynamics has become more pressing as rates of hybridization have increased due to the stresses of rapidly changing environments. In collaboration with Drs. Molly Schumer, Chelsea Rochman, and Vitor Sousa, we will combine diverse and multidisciplinary expertise to tackle fundamental questions about the consequences of hybridization via field observations, laboratory experiments, computational tools, and mathematical models.

We are looking for a postdoc with proven expertise in ecological/eco-evolutionary modeling, preferably with at least 2 years of postdoctoral experience. They will develop models and approaches to predict the outcomes of hybridization by incorporating interacting and selected genetic loci into ecological models of hybrid populations in isolation or in a spatial environment. The ideal candidate is open to exploring both mathematical approaches and large-scale simulations that take into account ecological variables in order to quantify extinction probabilities and other evolutionary outcomes. In addition to independently developing this project, the desired candidate is keen to contribute their expertise to other projects in the lab (and in the collaborative team) and open to mentoring occasional undergraduate and Masters students with interest in the topic.

We provide a dynamic and interdisciplinary work environment within the research group (Division of Theoretical Ecology and Evolution, former Evolutionary Dynamics Group), within the Institute of Ecology and Evolution in Bern, and within the collaborator team (Molly Schumer, Stanford University, Chelsea Rochman, University of Toronto, and Vitor Sousa, University of Lisbon). If desired by the candidate, short or mid-term visits of the collaborator labs are encouraged, and the candidate is expected to present and discuss their work at international workshops and conferences. The salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience, according to the University of Bern statutes. Funding for this position is currently available for 3 years. Our lab philosophy includes open communication, regular individual meetings and evaluation of mentoring and career development needs, and prioritising the well-being of all lab members.

Contact and Application

If interested, please send a complete CV, a motivation letter explaining the fit for the position, and the desired starting date (<1 page), a statement of research interests and approaches (<1 page), and names of 3 referees by email as a single pdf file to claudia.bank@iee.unibe.ch. Evaluation of the applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled, with a desired starting date as early as possible. Following the University of Bern’s policy, it is expected that the candidate relocates to Switzerland in time for the starting date of the position.